I've learned a lot in the last 25 years
practicing low vision, but one aspect of helping patients see better with
visual aids stands out the most. In fact, it's a tip that's both helpful to
patients and doctors alike.
What I've found to be the most successful
way to help low vision patients see better is to dispense all low vision aids
in patients' homes. The reason is so that the low vision tech can evaluate the
patient's lighting and posture and best assist him in using the aid in his own
We've been doing this exclusively for the
last 6 years -- even with simple handheld aids. We have a number of
occupational therapists and low vision techs on our staff who perform this
service. If the patient requires low vision therapy, we try to have the actual
therapist who will provide the therapy do the dispensing. If not, then we
assign a therapist for the sole purpose of dispensing.
The average home visit is probably about 1
hour. However, it may take a little longer for the more complicated low vision
aids and a little less for some of the simpler magnifiers. We don't charge
extra for the service, but in the long run, it saves me a great deal of chair
time and improves patient function, success and satisfaction. It's also
increased the number of direct referrals we've received from patients and
decreased the number of patients who return to the office asking why they could
see so well with the aid in the office, but not in their homes.
You may want to try this method, as well,
for helping your low vision patients see better the first time around.